“I Raised You and You Turned Out Okay”

We have a interesting topic and that is this concept of whether it’s your grandparents, which I think that’s the context Jeremy is going to talk about from someone he heard from, or whether it’s just culture or whether it’s any sphere of life, when you are trying to do something best, or you’re trying to do something better, you get the critique of, “Well, I raised you and you turned out okay.” Or “I did it this way and it was fine.” Or “I did X and it turned into how it was supposed to be.”

That, let me just say, before I want to hear what Jeremy says, that is so unhelpful. Literally, it doesn’t even matter in parenting because I’ve actually heard this exact frame of life with even Christian theology and walking with Jesus. It’s just like, “Well, but don’t you see the fruit there,” is kind of the thing too, or “Don’t you see that that happened,” or “Well, they…” I always see this with like salvation methods. That’s another random tangent. But it’s like, “But they know the Lord now.” “Well, yes, and amen, and we can count that blessing, but is that the best?” Does that set up someone the best to follow Jesus for 50 years? They’re not mutually exclusive in the sense of one or the other. It’s like, “Man, God works through anything and let’s keep pursuing excellence.” Those can actually go together.

I think specifically with parenting, this one’s totally true, Jeremy. So what would you say of, “Yeah, sometimes it’s that exact phrase of people say, “Well, I raised you and you turned out okay.” What do you do with that?

We’ve heard this a lot. This happens a lot. This is a message that we actually got. It was, I think described really well. I’d love to tease out just a little bit of how to think about this. The way that this was written to us, and this is a great question, “Has anyone answered questions on dealing with older generations, like grandparents, parents, not really supporting and agreeing with the idea of a family team and a multi-generational family? We get told a lot, “I raised you and you turned out okay,” in reference to how raising my three boys when they come to visit, realize how we are changing the culture in our home. We get the weird looks, the awkward silences from parents and siblings about family teams and how we agree with it. My mother and my mother’s mother have told us this exact phrase above when we talked about what we are learning from these podcasts and blogs we’re agreeing with and love. We want them to get on board, but it’s also tough when they’re getting offended.”

This is very common. First of all, have some empathy for the parents and grandparents in the situation. I’ve found that this is very intimidating. Anytime somebody in the family starts to change, somebody downstream, it really creates a crisis for siblings and parents that are kind of horizontal to you or upstream from you. The crisis is really, if I agree with the new ideas you’re now espousing, then what does that mean about how I raised you? They’re asking this question, like they don’t want to regret what they did.

It costs them a tremendous amount to agree that, “Oh, I guess family should be a multi-generational team.” Man, that’s very difficult. There’s a lot of grieving that oftentimes comes with, and regret, that comes with people that fully swallow that pill after their kids are already grown. We’ve seen the grieving that goes on with some families when they have actually adopted this philosophy. So just having that level of empathy.

One of the ways that I like to approach this is I like to show, not tell. I like to have them ask questions as much as possible, and for me not to try to espouse philosophies or ideas. The way that we’ve done this in our home is we just try to live out a team culture. We try to live out our family team. We try to especially honor upstream generations and use the tools that we’re developing as a multi-generational team to really try to enfold and honor, through storytelling, through a lot of the other tools we’ve given you guys for how to honor those upstream generations.

When they feel like a place of honor, and they start to ask questions, even then, I would really refrain from being too aggressive with my answers. I think you might want to just, “Yeah, we’re really trying to be a team, and we just believe that there’s a lot of strength to multi-generational family and that. So we just want to honor you and include you in more things.”

As long as the positive experiences that they’re having is really greatly eclipsing the regret that they might feel, they’ll begin to really want to adopt the idea. But if they don’t want to adopt the idea, because it would constitute too much regret, too much looking backwards for them, then they’re really going to resist it.

This is the way I would encourage you guys. If you’re getting that from parents or siblings, “What was wrong with the way mom and dad raised us?” That’s really not the conversation. The conversation is every single generation, of course, we want our ceiling to be the next generations floor. And so prepare your own heart for your own kids hopefully upgrading your family in lots of new ways. Also, have a lot of grace for people that are encountering this. Make sure that they’re encountering it primarily as a positive experience, as much as possible. Then I think there’ll be able to handle the conversations slowly taking place over a longer period of time.

What doesn’t tend to work, is the first time you get these ideas calling up your mom and dad and saying, “Hey, I got this great new idea for family.” Or your brother or sister or something. That tends to backfire spectacularly. I just encourage you guys, really show, not tell in this area. Then when you do talk about it, talk about it in stages so that as your parents or your siblings are getting used to the ideas, they begin to embrace them.

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